Nothing’s quite as cozy as a Beach Boys song. You can feel the summer, the warmth when it grips you. The comforting embrace of “In My Room” had me hooked for a while, but it’s “Your Summer Dream” that’s been buzzing in my ear the last week. They’re both short sweet ditties, only a few ticks longer than two minutes a piece, so you’ve got time to listen to both.
These two songs from the same side of 1963’s Surfer Girl both compliment each other in a yin and yang relationship. One being the extroverted “Your Summer Dream” and the other, the introverted “In My Room.”
Brian Wilson’s trademark falsetto sweeps us in early and sets the scene:
Drive your car down to the sea All the while you build a scheme Take her hand and walk on with her Make it real, your summer dream
He hypes us up for the upcoming season in the chillest, waviest way possible as he repeats the earworm, “Make it real, your summer dream.” Wilson offers us simple, palpable images of summer in a lullaby that is both a fantasy and incredibly tangible.
“Scheme” is a particular word to choose here, and he seems to be deviously scheming in both songs… “In my room…[I] Do my dreaming and my scheming/ lie awake and pray.”
Listening activity: Smell the salty air when you’re driving to the shore, baby!
Both songs have themes of escapism – whether getting lost in thought at the beach or in the comfort of your own room.
“In My Room” leans into the concept of room as refuge, a well known theme that still feels revolutionary when it’s delivered with such beautiful vocal harmonizing from them b-boyz:
There's a world where I can go And tell my secrets to In my room
The velvety layers just work. There’s still comfort in this space, despite the fact it is also a place to process pain: “Do my crying and my sighing/ laugh at yesterday.”
We process a range of emotion in both songs, each ending with the same parallel bridge to isolation (lollll). In “Your Summer Dream,” he sings:
Now it's gone and you're alone In her eyes you see a gleam Time has come for you to show your love Make it real, your summer dream
“In My Room” ends with a similar resolution:
Now it’s dark and I’m alone But I won’t be afraid In my room
If you are tempted to call this lazy songwriting…don’t. Brian Wilson is not one to mince words. And though it may seem like we’re landing in a melancholy spot, both tracks somehow feel comforting with their final, determined actions and declarations: “Show your love, Make it real” and “I won’t be afraid.”